The Born (Again) Identity
If any of you are embarrassed over me and the way I'm leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you'll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when He arrives in all the splendor of God, His Father, with an army of the holy angels. (Mark 8:38, The Message)
Have you identified with Jesus? Have you embraced your "born-again" identity? Or are you embarrassed over being identified as a true-blue Christ-follower? Are you still identifying with your old life, old friends, old habits, old language, old behavior, old thoughts and old self?
At some point, every real Christian must draw a line in the sand and they must identify with Jesus Christ—potentially at the expense of everything! When we identify with Jesus and all that He represents—we may lose some friends. We may lose our status among some people. We may not be invited to this or that. We may be rejected. We may be mocked or ridiculed. We may be misunderstood. It's a risk we must run.
Jesus takes identification seriously. If we've received Jesus Christ and confessed Him as the Lord of our lives, He expects us to identify with Him, His Word and His people. If we are too cool to do so, we have a big problem—with Him. If we are too embarrassed to do so—He'll be ashamed of us. If we are too timid—He tells us to be bold and have faith!
Some people want to be a Christian...but only in theory. They don't want to pay the price that comes with identification with Jesus. Some people want to pray a salvation prayer to get their eternal "fire insurance" and then live, talk and act the way they want to—even if it's contrary to God's Word—while still expecting the benefits of knowing Jesus. It doesn't work that way. That's probably why Jesus said:
If any of you wants to be My follower," He told them, "You must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow Me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life. And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul? If a person is ashamed of Me and My message in these adulterous and sinful days, I, the Son of Man, will be ashamed of that person when I return in the glory of My Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:34-38, NLT)
Here's the million-dollar question: If you're ashamed to identify with Jesus—why? What is it you are afraid of? What is it you can't let go of? What is it that is holding you back? Is it the fear of man? Is it some secret sin? Is it pride? What good is it for you to gain the whole world, a truckload of friends, all the money you want and every pleasure this planet offers and yet...lose your own soul?
If you've been reluctant to identify with Jesus 100%—you're not the first one. Jesus has been dealing with people like this for centuries: Many people, including some of the Jewish leaders, believed in Him. But they wouldn't admit it to anyone because of their fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise of God. (John 12:42-43, NLT)
What about you? Ready to go after the praise of God, rather than the praise of men? Are you ready to stand up and step out? Are you ready to identify with Jesus?
If so, you can have great confidence and comfort in the fact that Jesus will identify with you.
If anyone acknowledges Me publicly here on earth, I will openly acknowledge that person before My Father in heaven. But if anyone denies Me here on earth, I will deny that person before My Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33, NLT)
Say It: "Father, I draw a line in the sand today. I have been a phony, hypocritical Christian. I have been embarrassed of You. I have loved the praise of men more than Your praise. I have been too cool, too proud and too insecure to just stand up and identify with Jesus. Today, I am making a change. I choose to identify with Jesus, His Word and His cause. I have counted the cost and if I lose friends, influence, status or coolness—so be it. Jesus is the Lord of my life and I gladly identify with Him from this day forward. In Jesus' Name. Amen."